Standard for Employment
Most employers are aware of their obligations under the Customer Service Standard of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”). However, many employers are not aware of the upcoming requirements under the AODA Integrated Accessibility Standard.
The DSM-5 has arrived. Despite what employers and disability providers may think about the changes, there is no choice but to deal with this revised and authoritative text on mental disorders.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court just quashed the grievance settlement board’s decision that a probationary employee’s termination was arbitrary and discriminatory and granted the application for judicial review. The evidence was clear that the employer’s decision to terminate the probationary employee was neither arbitrary nor discriminatory. In fact, the decision to terminate came after numerous reviews of the employee’s work and conversations about performance concerns.
The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with Alberta’s upcoming minimum wage increase, how excessive absence resulted in culpable absenteeism and a reminder of Ontario AODA compliance requirements due January 1, 2014.
The Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace – Prevention, promotion and guidance to staged implementation was released by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Bureau de Normalization du Québec and the Canadian Standards Association on January 16, 2013. The Standard provides employers with a framework to develop and sustain a psychologically healthy and safe workplace, through the identification and elimination of hazards in the workplace, the assessment and control of the risks in the workplace, the implementation of structures and practices to facilitate psychological health, and the fostering of a workplace culture that promotes psychological well-being.
Many H.R. Departments pride themselves on the skill with which they can interview prospective employees in order to assess their qualifications for the position being advertised, the fit of the employee with the organization, and the likelihood that the employee will stay with the organization for a reasonable period of time. What employers are often not cognizant of is the limitation imposed on this process by the provisions of various provincial and federal Human Rights statutes.
In the recent decision Fair and Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal provides a useful guide for employers to follow in determining how to return an employee to the workplace after an extended absence.
Recently, some of our clients received a notice from the government reminding them to file an Accessibility Report. This was an eye opener to employers who have let the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), Customer Service compliance deadlines slip through the cracks. Some simply forgot to file. However, others were reminded they have not yet implemented all the Customer Service Standard requirements.
Integrating the psychological health and safety standard into existing organizational policies and processes
On January 16, 2013, the Standards Council of Canada (CSA) published a new national standard dealing with psychological health and safety in the workplace. Although not a mandatory standard at this time, it is foreseeable that legislators, health and safety officers and inspectors, adjudicators and tribunals will be influenced by the standard when dealing with psychological and mental health issues in the workplace. In addition, such standards may be absorbed into the employer’s general duty to protect workers from harm in the workplace, which exists in all jurisdictions in Canada. Employers should also scrutinize their workplace operations, policies, procedures and processes under the auspices of the psychological health and safety system recommended in the standard.
The Accessibility Standard for Employment will help Ontario businesses and organizations make accessibility a regular part of finding, hiring and supporting employees with disabilities.
Ontario’s Accessibility Standard for Customer Service came into effect on January 1, 2012 for all businesses and not-for-profits in the province with more than one employee. If an organization has more than 20 employees, an online report must be filed by December 31, 2012 to demonstrate to the government that accessibility has been achieved under the Customer Service Standard. Many organizations are now asking “what comes next?”